Movie Mayhem

There's an online film going around called Zeitgeist.

I first heard of it at a wingnut site I sometimes visit for fun - Covenant News. They say "An online movie documenting the close ties between ancient pagan religions and today's Christianity is "antichrist" in nature, destroying the faith of believers by combining some astonishing truth with plenty of error."

But according to Wikia Filmguide, "Zeitgeist is designed to prompt the audience into questioning their own beliefs on the subjects of US involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Christian theology, the Federal Reserve System".

Ah, so it's either a (possibly flawed) historical look at the roots of Christianity...or another Loose Change.

And apparently "Antichrist" is now an adjective.

So what could I do but watch it?

It's a film in three parts. The first part makes the following main assertions:

  • Horus and Set were the Ancient Egyptian gods of light and dark, day and night, good and evil.

  • Horus was born on December 25th of a virgin. His birth was heralded by a star in the east, which was followed by three kings.

  • He was a teacher at twelve and was "baptised" at thirty. He had twelve disciples and performed miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water.

  • He was known as "The Light", "The Good Shepherd", "The Lamb of God", "God's Anointed Son" etc.

  • He was crucified and after three days came back to life.

  • Much of the same biography applies to Attis and Dionysus of Greece, Mithra of Persia, Krishna of India, and many others, all over the world.

  • The star in the east is Sirius in the constellation Virgo, which means virgin. On December 24th it aligns with the stars in Orion's belt, known as the three kings.

  • Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, Adonis of the virgin Myrra, Buddha of the virgin Maya - all names starting with "M". An altered letter "M" is the symbol of the constellation Virgo - the virgin.

  • Virgo was also known as the "House of Bread". Bethlehem literally means "House of Bread".

  • The sun "dies" when it reaches it's southmost point at the winter equinox on December 22nd, then it stays still for three days near the "Southern Cross", then begins to rise on December 25th.

  • However it only overpowers the darkness at the spring equinox - Easter.

  • Well. What to make of all that? Bearing in mind I'm an amateur and not a specialist.

    The mythology of Horus and Set or Seth - the prototype for Shatan or Satan - is well known and uncontroversial. As is the origin of Christmas in the Festival of Saturn - which the film oddly doesn't mention.

    That most of the stories about Jesus are retellings of much older stories is something any first year theology student could tell you.

    There's some silly stuff punning "sunrise" with "birth of the son" and "the sun dying before being resurrected after three days" but I assume the director isn't really dumb enough to think ancient languages had the same homophones as modern English.

    As for the rest...I just don't know. There's a lot of anachronism like mentioning baptism and a monotheistic God three thousand years before there was such a thing, some strained making of connections like the stuff with the letter "M", and what looks a lot like cherry picking and "creative simplification" to make the facts fit the theory.

    But I'm curious now, so I'll watch the rest of the film and hunt up some scholarly sources.

    But first...

    There is, somewhat inevitably, a response film - called Zeitgeist Refuted. So I had a look at that.

    It starts by refuting the idea that Christianity was invented for social control. Has anyone seriously suggested that it was?! Does Zeitgeist make that specific allegation? Not that I've seen, and it doesn't fit what I have seen.

    It notes that Zeitgeist uses its cited sources more than once, as though this were some kind of grossly unprofessional practice.

    It then attacks John M Allegro's fanciful notion that the earliest christians were a hippie cult using the codeword "Jesus" for hallucinogenic mushrooms. Fair enough, but does Zeitgeist promote the idea? Erm, no.

    Zeitgeist Refuted states, on no evidence, that the Theosophy movement influences the United Nations...and founded Naziism.

    Oh dear. This would be the proverbial shark jumping moment.

    And we're only ten minutes in to a ninety minute film.

    Moving on, we find some of Zeitgeist's sources were...Freemasons! Who worship Lucifer. Who isn't actually the devil but nevermind, let's obscure that point.

    The identification of the constellation Virgo with the Virgin Mary is "refuted" using a book called "The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids". Obviously a scholarly tome.

    Next, Bethlehem was a real place, not a metaphor named after a constellation. Indeed - and Zeitgeist didn't actually suggest otherwise.

    Then after some fuzzy nitpicking of the "12 zodiac signs = 12 disciples" notion, which completely avoids the main thrust of the argument, we're at the fifteen minute mark, and I don't want to watch any more of this wank.

    So far there's no mention of the promised 9/11 conspiracies, from either side.

    So all I know yet is: Zeitgeist is highly questionable, and its official refutation is a pile of cack.

    It's just like being back at university. Really, quite a lot like it.

    Update: There are several versions of Zeitgeist. The final version is here.

    It's two hours long, full of snazzy graphics, spends the first fifteen minutes saying absolutely nothing, and does indeed contain a 9/11 conspiracy theory. Which is a shame really, because the connections shown between biblical stories and Egyptian, Indian and Greek myths are fascinating.

    I've also done a bit of reading on John M Allegro, and it looks like he wasn't the druggie nutball I was led to believe. He used philology to trace christianity back to mystery and fertility religions - I'm reminded of Martin Bernal in Black Athena.

    Allegro and Bernal were excoriated and osctracised when they published, before becoming respected when the hype wore off and people read the works - which is not to say their ideas are accepted.

    Going Mental

    The first episode of the number one show in America. I said I'd review it, so how was it?

    The villain was obvious, the characterisation stereotypical, the love interest that's to come in later episodes was telegraphed, the conflict between characters predictable, the hero smarmy, the settings unbelievable and the resolution hackneyed.

    So it was pretty much as expected.

    In the opening scenes, a married couple were grieving at the murder of their daughter, but the wife refused to hold the husband's hand. From this our hero deduced (a) that the wife suspected the husband of being the murderer and (b) that she was right because "a wife always knows when her husband's lying to her".

    This is bollocks. Husbands successfully lie to their wives all the time, and you might not want to hold your partner's hand at a staged press conference because you're angry and distraught because, oh I don't know, maybe your child's just been murdered.

    Bullshit cod psychology, dressed up as almost superhuman perceptiveness. Later our hero deduced that a man had been gay from a brief look at his corpse, and knew his soon-to-be romantic interest's father was a football coach because...everything in her demeanour made it obvious, apparently.

    There is however one interesting thing about the show as a cultural barometer. I said earlier that the days of unthinking acceptance of Sylvia Browne and Uri Geller were over - but I think it's more complex than that.

    Here in the UK we have a mentalist magician called Derren Brown. He's actually a damn good mentalist, but there's a problem. He could have a good career using just his own skills, but instead he uses stooges and camera tricks to mimic having skills that aren't just the product of astonishingly good training - they're actually impossible.

    Things like memorising the positions of thousands of tiny identical objects with a single glance, or making strangers hand over their wallet and keys. He claims never to use stooges, but has been caught several times doing so.

    I'm less familiar with the work of David Blaine, but he seems to be similar, though much more theatrical. A similar remark for Chris Angel.

    This is a little paradoxical. On the one hand, the existence of anything supernatural is explicitly disavowed, but on the other, the magician's skill is fraudulently portrayed to be of such a high level as to be...virtually supernatural.

    It's like saying "There's no such thing as magic, but human potential just as great."

    The character of Patrick Jane, the hero of The Mentalist, taps into this zeitgeist of "mundane magic" or "supernatural by proxy". An older example might be Frank Black of the series Millennium.

    I don't really mind that shows like CSI and The Mentalist are silly and unoriginal. I watched the various versions CSI quite happily as disposable television, and will probably tune in to The Mentalist next week.

    No, the thing which annoys me is the way the fantasy science of CSI, and the fantasy skills of The Mentalist, are implicitly portrayed as real.

    Media - Medium - Mediocrity

    A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a detective story. It was about a fake spiritualist who uses the techniques of cold reading, misdirection, suggestion and all the other methods of solve crimes.

    And now I find the top rated show on American TV has exactly the same premise. It's called The Mentalist and it premieres on British TV tonight.

    I've got mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, it's kind-of my idea and I'm curious how it'll pan out. On the other, judging by the trailers, it's probably crap.

    Remember a show called Medium? It was about a psychic housewife who uses her supernatural gifts to help the police find murderers. The killers were all evil whackos, the police were all tough but fair, and the medium was...well, blond.

    Actually it was mostly about how a tedious suburban-but-improbably-posh family copes with a mom who really does know when you're lying.

    It was drivel, it was pseudo-profound, it was glurgy, it was right wing and complacent, and it was popular for a while. But just like The X-Files (or for that matter, Roswell) reflected a public credulity towards conspiracy theories, I think Medium reflected a popular gullibility towards psychic powers.

    But if that's the case, maybe The Mentalist reflects a healthy skepticism towards the same con artists. Let's hope so. Even if the actual show is cack.

    I'll watch and let you know just how cack it it.

    Kooking with Kapitano

    I tend to be awake in the early hours of the morning, and I'm often hungry at odd hours. Creeping downstairs to fix some food is a problem because the lightest of footsteps wakes up the dogs, who spend the next ten minutes waking everyone else up, jumping around and barking. This makes me unpopular.

    So what I really a kitchen in my bedroom. I've got a kettle and a miniature teapot, so what else do I need?

    Here's Kapitano's recipe for Bedroom Kedgeree - fishless version - using whatever I could grab from the kitchen before going to bed. You will need:

  • 1 Kettle, filled with water
  • 1 teapot
  • 1 teabag
  • 1 cup
  • 1 3/4 empty carton of slightly out-of-date milk
  • 1 plastic container that contained takeaway spicy noodles a week ago (washed)
  • 1 old t-shirt lying on the floor
  • 1 fork
  • 1 pepper shaker
  • 1 sink with running water, or 1 bucket of water
  • 1 packet of brown rice
  • 1 egg

  • 1) Boil the kettle. Meanwhile put three handfuls of brown rice and one egg into a small plastic bag.

    2) Add half the boiling water to the bag, then put the bag inside the kettle. Reboil two or three times at five minute intervals. Meanwhile put a teabag in the kettle.

    3) After twenty or so minutes periodic reboiling, pour the water outside the bag from the kettle into the teapot. Take out the bag. Optionally add milk (or lemon juice) to the teapot.

    4) Drain the water in the bag. If you have a sieve, use that, otherwise carefully pour the water down the sink, or into some convenient receptacle, like a bucket.

    You may need to improvise some gloves - use any discarded t-shirts lying around. Be sure to fold them so they're four layers thick.

    5) Take out the egg, remove the shell, and mash up the egg and yolk in your plastic carton.

    6) Squeeze as much water as you can out of the rice in the bag, then add the rice to the container.

    7) Add pepper and mix in.

    I'm eating it now. Not bad - could use some butter and a little more boiling. I should keep some tinned fish up here for next time.

    The rice bag would be reusable if I hadn't punctured it (with the fork) so it could drain, so in future I'll get a sieve up here. That way it won't be quite so painful.

    So there you have it. Kedgeree, Kapitano style - cooked entirely in the kettle. And not a woken dog in sight. I might try pasta tomorrow.

    The alternative of course is to sleep downstairs.


    "Your life is a mystery,
    Mine is an open book."
    - Patsy Kensit / Pet Shop Boys, I'm Not Scared

    What exactly is the point of Facebook?

    That's not a rhetorical question. I mean, what needs does it serve? What gaps does it fill? What does it do to improve your life? What does it let you do that you couldn't do before? What is Facebook for?

    After people kept telling me I should join, I gave it a go. Right away, it wanted to know my age, sex, location, and relationship status. Right, so it's a dating site.

    Then it gave me boxes to fill out for my educational history.'s for online CVs? There's also a microblogging applet, so it's a bit like Twitter, and some kind of video hosting for those who prefer to whitter into a webcam instead of onto a text editor.

    I can, if I want, find out how many people with facebook accounts are called Scorpius - thirty six. There are also two hundred and eighty two self declared socialists in my home town - though thirteen of them are also christians.

    There's over five hundred interest groups containing the word "heterosexual" - by the look of them, largely full of straight men who aren't exactly homophobic, but are "nervous" about being around gay blokes. Not to worry though, there's plenty more groups just with the word "queer" - and they're much bigger!

    So Facebook is a way for me to find people who're a bit like me in some way, and/or live nearby. And perhaps chat about stuff we have in common. That's when I'm not taking pop culture trivia quizzes, flicking through the photograph albums of strangers, promoting my ebay auctions, being reminded of saint's days, learning ten new spanish words a day, sharing my "emotion status", keeping a database of family birthdays...or answering ads for "Local Singles".

    The trouble with "it can be whatever you want it to be" is it winds up being a bit of everything and not much of anything.

    This Doggy Bites

    C is a fan of horror movies. And he's met my dogs. And he can do basic video editing. And can you see where this is headed?

    It Couldn't Happen Here

    I heard the latest Pet Shop Boys album last week. It's not actually out yet, but there's never a shortage of people who are (a) clever and (b) generous with the fruits of their cleverness.

    It helps that the music industry is hopelessly disorganised and wouldn't know the opportunities of new technology if it fell on them. Which indeed it has.

    Back in December, Warner Music decided they couldn't bear to have only a trickle of money coming in from YouTube plays of their bands, so having failed to bully YouTube into paying an exorbitant amount, withdrew all their videos.

    No more money, no more free publicity. A really intelligent business strategy.

    YouTube then installed a widget which could take you from a video to an online store selling the music. Sales for companies like Sony picked up for a few weeks - until Sony decided they weren't getting enough money from YouTube plays...and withdrew all their videos.

    Realising they'd done something really, really stupid, Sony reopened negotiations and now their videos are back.

    Where does YouTube get the money from to pay Sony half a cent per play? From the steadily growing amount of annoying advertisements that now litter YouTube pages.

    Have you ever clicked on one of the ads? Me neither.

    Two extra details. Sony are angling to get the payment increased to .8 of a cent. And they've still trying to push their own competitor to YouTube. It's called eyeVio and after a year in operation it's still Japanese only.

    Oh, the album? It's called "Yes", and it veers between austere Marsheaux territory and early New Order, but still centering on the familiar introspective soulful synthpop.

    If you liked the "Nightlife", "Bilingual" and "Behavior", and you like what Bernard Sumner's been doing lately, you'll like this.

    Would I buy it? No, and not just because I don't have any money. I'm glad to have heard it, but I prefer bands who sound like...well, the early Pet Shop Boys.

    Spiced Ham

    What an interesting person just commented on the previous post - Smadraji from New Delhi,

    They've got nine blogs. In one they write potted Indian history articles. In another they're a wine connaseur.

    They're also prepubsescent, and have they following fascinated comments on their single post:

    * "Very interesting."

    * "yes i agree interesting."

    When they're not being prepubsecent, they write about gay issues, especially those related to travel.

    I wonder how they find the time to write about online marketing on three of their other blogs. Amazing.

    Amazing, that is, they're so inept at it.

    First Time for Everything

    Meme time again, courtesy of David of the Tangled Thoughts.

    1. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

    Polish Vodka! And too much of it. It's on videotape.

    2. Who was your FIRST crush?

    I've never had one.

    3. Who did you FIRST dance with?

    The first time I ran away from home, at age 17, I met a rotund, jolly lesbian and her friends - a gay couple in their 40s. I danced with them at a disco - and was astonishingly bad at it. Some months later I had sex with the DJ - very brainy chap.

    4. Who was your FIRST prom date?

    I never went to proms, or any kind of graduation ceremony. Never saw the point. Well I did go to one graduation do - I gatecrashed it out of curiosity. It was full of posh kids with jobs in the city already lined up. I think they were under the impression they were impressing each other.

    5. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

    I do indeed. And remarkably, he talks back.

    6. What was your FIRST job?

    Computer programmer. Writing robot arm control software on a BBC Model B. Yes, the BBC made computers, in the late 80s.

    7. What was your FIRST car?

    I've never owned a car. Never needed to.

    8. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?

    My friend C. Wishing me good night.

    9. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?


    10. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?

    Mrs Hemmingsley. Looking back, she must have been driven to distraction by the rearrangements of class size, timetable and "temporary students" every week or so.

    She also had no idea what to do with the child who was more advanced than the 40+ others. Guess who that was.

    11. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

    Nice, in France. For an anti-capitalist demonstration. I can still remember some of the French slogans we chanted.

    12. Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?

    That would probably be Grant, at age four. I found him on Friends Reunited a few years back and we exchanged a few emails. He's a website designer, dedicated player of computer games. and a bit of a hippy. Seems to have turned out well.

    13. What was your FIRST sport played?

    Why should I want to play any sports? They were compulsory at school - or rather, changing into sports gear and standing around getting cold in a muddy field was compulsory. Sometimes it was called Football (Soccer) and sometimes Rounders (Baseball). A very few of the kids cared about sports. They were also the bullies.

    14. Where was your FIRST sleep over?

    Two weeks ago, as part of babysitting.

    15. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?

    My mother. She said, "Oh you're awake". I said, "Probably".

    16. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?

    I've been to exactly one wedding - of the brother of my then boyfriend. The story I was told was that his life had been ruined by drunk, drugs, and bad company. Part of his trying to get back on track was dating and marrying a good, solid, sensible young lady.

    He looked fine to me, his friends were nice people with steady careers, and the bride was a nasty controlling bitch. The two families ignored each other throughout. I gave them one year together, tops. Other guests grudgingly admitted similar feelings.

    17. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?

    I thought to myself, "Shall I have a morning wank or get up?". I got up. And ate poached egg on toast.

    18. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?

    It was classical - something like the Moscow Philharmonic, visiting my home town, playing Stravinsky (exciting) and Beethoven (dull). I don't know how old I was - somewhere between five and ten.

    19. FIRST tattoo, piercing?

    I had my right ear pierced to mark getting an MA.

    20. FIRST foreign country you went to?

    France - see above.

    21. What was your FIRST run in with the law?

    Twenty three. My then boyfriend - the one with the recently married brother - spent a couple of hours drunkenly screaming at me about how repressed I was. Eventually stopped repressing myself and hit him. He called the police, who left when he started shouting at them about how then envied his college education.

    One of the same officers stopped me on the road some weeks later for cycling with a busted headlight. He asked after my home life.

    22. When was your FIRST detention?

    At fifteen, one of the "rebels" of the class got given a detention by a supply teacher. He gave the teacher my name as his. I told the teacher what had happened and got called a creep by the class.

    23. What was the FIRST state you lived in?

    Same one I live in now.

    24. Who was the FIRST person to break your heart?

    He knows who he is. He also helped mend it.

    25. Who was your FIRST roommate?

    I always managed to get single rooms.

    26. Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride?

    Why on earth would I want to ride in a limosine?

    There's a local firm who hire out a pink stretch limo. It's always full of shreiking, drunk teenage girls. I hope it crashes one day.

    27. Who will be the FIRST to re post this?

    The puck stops here.

    28. Do you really remember all of your FIRSTS?

    I appear to. Unless I'm lying.

    One Teeny Weeny Week, My Boy

    I'm good at getting distracted. I'm also good at starting things, making decisions, making plans, and finding things interesting.

    Yes that's right, I'm no good at getting things done.

    Here's a list of my current ongoing projects:

    * Compose that song

    * Sort and catalogue a few thousand VSTs downloaded over the years

    * Make a synth drumkit, using sine waves and bandpass filtered white noise

    * Read Borges' Labyrinths

    * Read Slaughterhouse 5

    * Write that story

    And here's a list of projects in hibernation or waiting to begin:

    * Tidy up the bedroom

    * Find that mp3 player which I know is around here somewhere

    * Find that camera which is also around here somewhere

    * Watch those science documentaries waiting on the shelf

    * Stop being so incredibly unhealthy

    * Make a realistic sounding drumkit, using physical modelling software

    * Get good at video editing

    * Have a go at podcasting

    * Try ganzfelding again

    * Resume development on that system of shorthand

    * Get back into practice speedreading

    * Develop a VST for vinyl scratching

    * Develop a VST for additive synthesis

    * Come up with a simple sample playback system for muted and unmuted common guitar chords

    * Learn more about developing VSTs so I can do it properly

    * Get good at using memory mnemonics

    * Loads of other stuff

    Usually the things I get around to finishing are whichever projects happen not to get interrupted by something else looking interesting.

    So the skill I need to develop is: Doing one thing at a time. Selecting a project, and doing nothing else for a week. If anything else look interesting (or shiny), make a note of it and come back to the notes later.

    I may not finish the project, but I'll have made progress, most likely discovered whether or not it is in fact completable, and might even get that sense of achievement that I read about people getting.

    My first week-project will be...becoming less horribly unfit. Everything else goes on the back burner.

    Update: I bet you've got a lateral thigh stepping machine somewhere. In the loft, or the basement. Far too many people seem to have one.

    Mine was in the basement. Now it's in the bedroom. But first I had to clear some space, which meant tidying up the room, during which I found the mp3 player. Yay! Two birds with one stone, and I haven't even started yet.

    I'm too tired from lugging the damn thing upstairs.

    Comfortably Dumb

    I've got a short story three quarters written but I've a nasty feeling it's rubbish. I've also got an essay half written about the different things we mean when we say a singer is "good" or "bad"...but I've got a nasty feeling I'm completely wrong.

    So seeing as I don't have anything else to post, here's a further selection of fundie quotes. Today's theme: History.

    "genetics and manipulating DNA/Embryos, etc., was the reason for the Flood."
    - Guy4God

    "So what creationists know but many people who call themselves scienctists don't know is:
    1) That the earth was created out of water."
    - Carico

    "Hitler was a evolutionist."
    - asbesttes

    "Hitler was a genius who gave the people what they wanted, a scapegoat. He went slightly further than neccesary, but in the end he was ther greatest leader of his time. People should look up to him."
    - khazul

    "in actuality, a satanic counterfeit church mirroring true Christianity conducted the horrors of the Inquisition."
    - Buzzardhut

    "Before the flood the air was heavier, and richer. With the changes of the flood, dinosaurs could not live. (except for the deep water types, like Loch Ness Monster). Therefore they were killed in the flood. They might have been part of the Almighty's original creation, or they might have been the results of genetic experiments. No, Atheists did not put them there."
    - hasse_john

    "The world was created by a giant cube. The giant cube gave us life and the power to be good or evil"
    - manning62

    Techno Techno Tech No Notice

    One of the joys of a bad filing system is: You find all kinds of fascinating things in unexpected places. It's a bit like channel hopping...except that you find fascinating things.

    Today's find was a list of categorised fundie quotes that I meant to put at the head of posts. All are collected from Fundies Say the Darndest Things, a soon-to-be-mothballed but extensive collection of jawdropping imbecility, from the kind of godbotherers proper christians avoid.

    Today's theme: Technology

    Man with all his technology still cannot reproduce even the pyramids.
    - Charity

    "Technology makes peoples lives easier. Technology is the product of inventive geniuses who were inspired by God.
    Science causes confustion and makes things complicated."
    - spreadingtheword

    "Computers are a form of TECHNOLOGY.
    If there is any science involved please tell me."
    - spreadingtheword

    "Not being a "religious nut" but myspace is yet another tool of satan to lure and deceive the young."
    - 4eversaved

    "Has anyone heard of Linux? It’s a new kind of Windows, but it’s free. I’ve read up on it, and it seems that it’s created and supported by ultra-liberals. Its creator, Richard Stallman, is even a satanist."
    - Baptist Ben

    Sometimes one set of lunatics does good, non-lunatic work debunking another set of lunatics. Here's a climate change denialist who debunks manhating pseusofeminists. And here's Screw Loose Change - from two guantanamo bay fans who debunk 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

    Update: Now let's see if I can get this straight.

    Loose Change is a documentary movie alleging that the US government either planned the 9/11 attacks, or knew about them well in advance and deliberately did nothing to prevent them. Either way, it was as propaganda for the then planned invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

    Screw Loose Change is a blog debunking the movie's reasoning, assumptions and sources.

    Screw Loose Change Exposed is a blog set up by one of the two people behind Screw Loose Change, detailing how it descended into the kind of distortion and lies it claimed to expose.

    According to Prison Planet and others, Screw Loose Change Exposed is a hoax.

    Good to know I get to hear about these things, only a year after they happened.


    It's that time again

    The time when my laptop gets a virus and I need to reinstall Windows. Thanks to programs like nLite, VirtualBox, and rather a lot of research, the process lasts around ten minutes and doesn't need my presence - as opposed to the more usual ninety minutes of watching and waiting.

    It's therefore also the time when I post a selection of images I've stumbled upon and saved for just this purpose. A tradition here at blog Kapitano. So here goes.

    Aliens are among us.

    The differences are subtle, but an expert can spot them.

    They have a master plan, and the signs are all around.

    Their master is Lord Satan.

    ...and his perverted servants.

    ...who flaunt their disgusting lifestyle at decent folk.

    And there are the skeptics...

    ...the fashion police...

    ...and the interlectuals...

    ...who want to send us all to the burning pit.

    But there are the rightous...

    ...the wise...

    ...the devout...

    ...the normal...

    ...the heroic...

    ...the innocent... the army of light...

    ...who will save us from depravity.

    So watch for the signs.

    And stop thinking about cocks all the time.

    Stakker Bo

    Seven synth-based bands I'm listening to at the moment:
    8Khz Mono
    A Blue Ocean Dream
    Chinese Theatre
    Colony 5
    Rupesh Cartel

    There's something they all have in common, which I only discovered by accident. They're all...Swedish!

    For the last forty years the UK's been the little country with the disproportionate voice in music around the world - something which has always been both comforting and embarrassing for me. Here's hoping the Netherland Kingdoms are the new United Kingdom.

    Not to worry though. They sing in english, with british accents, and they're inspired by british synth bands of the 80s.

    Kid Gloves

    Babysitting on Thursday.

    Daisy complained to mummy that she didn't want to be left with me because I hit her. Yes, a slightly awkward moment, though we all knew I wouldn't do that. Probably referring to one of her games of tag.

    Mummy left and Daisy immediately tripped over a cable and fell down stairs. I got a sinking feeling.

    After thirty seconds of crying she recovered in an eyeblink and showed me her new game. Which involved putting on a superhero cape, climbing up her bunk bed, announcing that she could fly , and jumping down onto a beanbag. And missing.

    After another thirty seconds of tortured wailing she made another instant recovery...and did it again - this time making a soft landing with my help. Before asking to be swung around by her ankles and thrown onto the bed. We compromised on a game that involved being gently swung backwards and forwards inside a duvet.

    More babysitting on Sunday, but mercifully less liable to induce suspicious bruises, though she did manage to fall off a chair.

    We watched Walt Disney's Cinderella, Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders (which I enjoyed far too much), and the Disney version of Oliver Twist - with the title role taken by an insufferably cutesy orange kitten.

    Same again next weekend.

    Marriage of Convocation

    I've got a lot of half written songs. Some are just a chorus, some have one and a half verses, a few are just notes.

    Flicking through them, one was two verses, and another a chorus. So here they are, welded together. But if you didn't know that, would you guess? Title: Outside Looking Out.

    Verse 1:
    What you have
    You won't use

    What you get
    You can't refuse

    What you say
    You don't feel

    And what you know
    You can't, you can't reveal

    Outside, looking
    Full of ambition and
    Full of self doubt, we're
    Outside, looking
    Plenty to hope for but
    Nothing to shout about

    Verse 2:
    What you see
    You won't name

    What you were
    You can't reclaim

    What you love
    You don't break

    And what you lost
    You can't, you can't remake

    I'm Half Crazy

    I was going to spend the weekend fixing KR's computer. This would have involved half an hour in front of the actual computer, and a good seven or eight hours listening to her complain about anything and everything. In that kind of shrill monotonic voice that drills into your head.

    KR is one of those fundamentally decent people, who you also want to hit with a brick until she starts being fundamentally decent and quiet.

    Instead however, I spent the weekend babysitting for DT. This involved half an hour sitting in front of the computer trying to make it connect to the Ceebies site, and seven or eight hours listening to her demand sweets. In that shrill whine that drills into your soul.

    The differences between KR and DS's four year old daughter Daisy are:

    1) KR tells you why the modern world makes her want to scream. Daisy just screams.

    2) Daisy will burst into tears at nothing, then ten seconds later gigglingly asks to be swung around by her feet. So far KR has done neither.

    3) Daisy tells you to shut up. KR just assumes you weren't saying anything important.

    4) Daisy likes to hear stories about Noddy and Big-Ears. KR likes to tell stories about work. I don't actually know what her work is, but that doesn't seem relavent to the stories.

    5) I get to have conversations with Daisy. Albeit about Lego and "Want corm-flakes wiv shoclet an sherbet ona top!".

    And with Daisy I get to be the Tickle Monster. Grrr.